Speaking to the media here, Dr Vandana Shiva said biodiversity in India currently faces two threats
The International Biodiversity Congress (IBC), the largest get together of researchers, academicians and civil society held biannually to discuss the current strategies and future directions to conserve, sustainably use and equitably share biodiversity, and to create ecological civilizations by working on awareness and education platforms, will make its come back to Thiruvananthapuram, the city of its origin. IBC 202 will be held at the University of Kerala Karyavattam campus from November 25 to 27, 2020.
Dr Vandana Shiva, Founder, Navdanya, Delhi, announced the return of IBC to Thiruvananthapuram at a Press Conference held in the city. The general objectives of IBC are: To facilitate a shift towards ecological civilization that value, cherish and conserve biodiversity to achieve sustainable development goals, both at national and international platforms; To strengthen capacity and to promote networking in order to popularise the philosophy of biodiversity for ecological civilization; To provide an interdisciplinary platform on matters related to the status, conservation and sustainable utilization of biodiversity; and To showcase the rich biodiversity heritage of the planet and the linkage between biodiversity, economy, ecosystem services, aesthetics, and cultural evolution.
Speaking to the media here, Dr Vandana Shiva said biodiversity in India currently faces two threats. In an era where agriculture is facing challenges, organic farming offers hope. However, fake foods are flooding the marketplace. They have been taking over the markets in the name of farm-free food, dairy-free milk et al. These fake foods have triggered serious health concerns. There are also wide spread attempts to develop new seed varieties through generic mapping under the veil of seed research. Those behind such attempts are also trying to secure patents for crops such developed. This is a serious concern, she added.
The IBC 2020 will have the theme “BIODIVERSITY TARGETS 2020 AND BEYOND: Status and Aspirations”. This theme topic has been selected, since the UN General Assembly declared the period 2011-2020 as “United Nations Decade on Biodiversity” to promote the implementation of a strategic plan on biodiversity and its overall vision of living in harmony with nature. It is also a period in which the governments have to take concerted efforts to achieve “Aichi Target” or the 2011-2020 Strategic Plan of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) for addressing the underlying causes of biodiversity loss, reduce the pressures on biodiversity, safeguard biodiversity at all levels, enhance the benefits provided by biodiversity.
The importance of biodiversity and ecosystems is also reflected in many of the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets. Towards the end of 2020 nations throughout the world are in the process to assess how much progress they have made in halting biodiversity loss and to conserve biodiversity. IBC will discuss this aspect and forward the suggestions and aspirations to improve the activities, especially in the context of: (i) increasing population and consumption; (ii) increasing pressure from development, and (iii) changing climate and decreasing resilience of natural ecosystems.
IBC 2020 also will have a special symposium on “Biodiversity, Development and Eco-restoration”, in the context of increasing biodiversity loss (especially in agricultural sector) under developmental pressures and in the perspective of speeding up eco-restoration activities as the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030 proclaimed by the United Nations General. Assembly (UNGA).
This year, IBC expects representatives from United Nations bodies attending the meeting, including those from CBD, UNEP and IUCN. Participants will include Academicians, researchers, students, citizen scientists, Farmers, Farmer Representatives, Social Activists, Community Representatives etc.
Dr.A.G.Pandurangan, Former Director, KSCSTE-JNTBGRI; Dr C Sureshkumar, General Secretary, CISSA; Dr. P Krishnan, Emeritus Scientist, Malabar Botanic Garden; Prof. A Biju Kumar, University of Kerala; Ajith Venniyoor (CISSA) were among those who participated in the press conference.
The First IBC was launched under the auspices of CISSA and Navdanya in the International Year of Biodiversity in the year 2010. Subsequently bi-annual IBCs were held at Bangalore (Indian Institute of Science), Chennai (SRM University), Pondicherry (Central University) and Dehradun (Forestry Research Institute).